TODAY: Coach Peck Introduced in Boise
Coach meets team, city, ticket holders and more for the first time

BOISE, Idaho (September 18, 2012) - New Idaho Stampede Head Coach Michael Peck was introduced to Stampede season ticket holders, corporate partners, local media, members of the ownership group and other VIPs on Monday, September 17 during a pair of events at Beside Bardenay in downtown Boise.

In addition to the introduction of coach Peck, the Stampede revealed its new logo, a design that meshes the Stampede history with that of the Portland Trail Blazers, the team's hybrid single-affiliate in the NBA.

Peck spent the day meeting and shaking hands with the people of Boise, telling everybody that he feels as if he's "living a dream," after being hired to be the ninth Head Coach in Idaho Stampede history. See some pictures here of Peck's first day in Boise.

Below is a story about Peck's past travels on his way to the NBA D-League.

Upper Left: Peck has a pin placed on his lapel by wife, Terri. Upper Right: Managing Investor Bill Ilett walks in downtown Boise with Peck and wife, Terri. Middle Left: New Stampede marketing collateral. Middle Right: Peck speaks to the crowd as Ilett and Stampede President and GM Steve Brandes listen on. Bottom Middle: Peck throws a stress ball out to VIP crowd.




TODAY: Coach Peck Always Working
Coach of Idaho Stampede did not arrive overnight

New Idaho Stampede Head Coach Michael Peck was speaking about the hard road of setting up the Findlay Prep Program at Henderson International School (Nev.), but the same lessons are there for his future with the Stampede, now in its 15th season of basketball.

“You don’t think about, ‘Oh my gosh, one year from now this will be so hard.’ No, it’s, ‘What do we need today? Where is our gameday program and our media guide and what do we need today? Okay, let’s do that and get it taken care of.’ You don’t think about tomorrow, we have to get through today. We’ll get to tomorrow.”

Peck’s drive and focus shine, obstructing the view of any problems down the road, real, perceived, seen or not. Just a little over 10 years ago, Peck was a relative nobody in the basketball world – but what he lacked in coaching experience and ability, connections and a blue-blood resumé, he made up for in passion and hard work.

It may sound cliché, as he said, but it was true.

All he had to do was get through today.

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"The beginning is always today." - Mary Shelley

After a Division II basketball career at a small, private, business college in Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University, Peck did what he was supposed to do: get a job.

It didn’t take long for him to realize that the private sector, regardless of whether he was a Vice President or CEO, was not for him.

“It’s not about the money, or the title, I needed to get into something that I have a passion for,” Peck said of those times. “I need to get back to the game. I knew I wasn’t going to play, so I said, ‘You know what? I need to coach.’”

So, obviously, Peck found his way back home. But he found himself fighting for scraps, able to pick up a position as his former high school’s junior varsity team head coach. Dreams of becoming the next Phil Jackson or Pat Riley surely would have been dashed, but Peck dug into the trenches.

After a season in high school, Peck was able to latch on with one of his only connections in the sports world: his former coach Dean Lockwood, who was at Saginaw Valley State. Through Lockwood, who is currently an assistant for the legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball program, Peck shook hands, made phone calls and visited with area coaches and basketball lifers before eventually ending up as the video coordinator with UNLV.

Pretty good work for a former JV coach.

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"Today is the greatest day I've ever known." - The Smashing Pumpkins

That’s when things really sped up for Peck.

“So they brought me in as the video coordinator and Charlie Spoonhour steps down mid-year that year, and afterward, the school parts ways with that staff, and in steps Lon Kruger (former Head Coach at Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks; current Head Coach at Oklahoma).

“I get the opportunity to speak with Lon, and fortunately, he keeps me on board. He retains me in the same video spot but kind of expands my role. He was great. He expanded my role, trusted me, we developed a good relationship, he had just been coming from his time in the league with time with the Hawks and Knicks (as an assistant), I really learned a lot in my few years with him. A lot of my philosophy and style are attributed to Coach Kruger, between him and the guy I played for, that’s who I am as a coach. After a few years there in that role, in the video role you can get burned out if you stay in it too long, you can pigeonhole yourself, and I was ready for that next thing and the Findlay thing opened up, and I thought it was intriguing and interesting and they were doing things the right way, so I jumped at that. Six years later, here we are.”

Peck skipping over those six years is deceiving – he was one of the keys in building one of the most successful basketball programs in the country at any level. Getting through each day by maximizing his efforts, Peck helped the team accumulate a 157-8 record in five seasons, including a perfect record of 65-0 at home. Peck got it done with his X’s and O’s, and, admittedly, already-great players, but the talent of his team did not matter when the program, literally, did not exist before Peck’s arrival.

“[The Findlay Prep Program] was nothing. Findlay Prep did not exist. It was an idea. Cliff Findlay wanted to do something in honor of his parents. In lieu of putting his name on a building on campus, he wanted to do something that was a little different. Wanted to do something that helped others, something that helped kids. He got the idea of starting a prep program, because his son Robby Findlay went to Maine Central Institute and during his time there, Mr. Findlay saw what it did for those kids like [current NBA star] Caron Butler and kids that needed a second chance. And he thought, ‘You know what? That’s what I’d like to do.’

And so it began.

The Findlay Prep Program has won three National High School Invitational Championships, including an undefeated season in 2009, coaching players like Avery Bradley (Boston), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Cory Joseph (San Antonio), DeAndre Liggins (Orlando) and numerous other college stars at multiple high-end Division I schools like Texas, Pitt, Illinois, Florida State, California and UNLV, among others.

But dreams of top NBA draft picks and great college players wasn’t a given, at least right away. Those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of work have resulted in a great program at Findlay and a rising Head Coach of the Idaho Stampede. “In July of 2006, we were given the directive of, ‘Okay, start this program. Get a schedule, get a team, get uniforms, get the whole nine yards.’

“We put it together and here we are.”

And, here, now, today, Peck is ready for the challenge.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein